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Murder charge set in White City killing

A White City man suspected of bludgeoning to death his mother's boyfriend inside her home has been charged with murder and manslaughter.

A Jackson County grand jury on Tuesday indicted Devin Ray Butler, 21, in the homicide death of 37-year-old Scott Evo Venturi. Sheriff's deputies arrested Butler late Thursday after Venturi was found dead of head wounds caused by a blunt object at the home of Butler's mother in the 7700 block of Ingalls Drive.

Kimberly Butler told deputies that her son assaulted Venturi and then ran off. Deputies and officers with Central Point and Medford police departments searched for Devin Butler, who eventually called 9-1-1 and gave dispatchers his location. Deputies also found the murder weapon but police haven't publicly identified it.

Sheriff Mike Winters said it appeared there was a struggle inside Kimberly Butler's house before Venturi's slaying. While the murder charge implies Devin Butler intentionally killed Venturi, the crime of first-degree manslaughter is legally defined as recklessly causing another person's death under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.

Neither man was allowed inside Kimberly Butler's home under the terms of restraining orders she had filed against them. Butler obtained a restraining order last year against Venturi, who lives in the 3600 block of Antelope Road. Violating the court's mandate twice, Venturi was found in contempt on Jan. 20 and again six months later. He was placed on probation for one year.

— Devin Butler was ordered in June to have no contact with his mother. Police said he has no permanent address but frequents the White City area.

Both men have been involved with methamphetamine. Butler appeared in Jackson County Circuit last month on a charge of possessing meth. Venturi was convicted last year and in 1997 of possessing the illegal stimulant.

Butler is scheduled to hear the charges against him Oct. 26 in Circuit Court. If found guilty of murder, he would be subject to life in prison with a minimum term of 25 years before he is eligible for parole. First-degree manslaughter carries a mandatory 10-year sentence.

Reach reporter Sarah Lemon at 776-4487, or e-mail Murder charge set in White City killing"slemon@mailtribune.com.